Drop That Cross & Follow Your Desires

Fr. Martin, SJ, before his silent retreat, made this suggestion: “Check out this really interesting new site on US Catholic on ‘daring, persistent, stubborn and defiant Catholic women.’”  Here’s the link to it. https://uscatholic.atavist.com/unexpectedwomen.  At first I thought “Wow!  Sounds like the site for me!” (Although I was pretty sure it wasn’t, based on the person suggesting it.) Sure enough, I found it quite a letdown.  Definitely false advertising.  Nothing but a bunch of jealous misandrists.  That is hardly the description of the “Unexpected Women.”  We’re surrounded by narcissistic women.  Totally expected it.

Let’s just look at the first article: https://uscatholic.atavist.com/unexpectedwomen#chapter-1283032

Woman, come down from your cross!

Woman Offered No. 5

By Diana Hayes

From time immemorial, women, of all races and ethnicities, of all classes, have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. Willingly, even eagerly, some have climbed up and hung, believing that in doing so their sacrifice of love, their martyrdom, will protect them, their families, and especially their children. Others, unwilling and unasked, have been forced onto their crosses by those they love and by the societies in which they live, again for their own protection and the good of society. In reality, they are crucified solely because they are women and that, the world teaches, is the role of women—to sacrifice themselves, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for everyone.

What century is she living in?!  Plus, that’s not even factually correct.  Last time I checked, we’ve been marking time long before God became flesh.  She seems to be intimating that this was wrong of women to take up their crosses.  I seemed to remember somebody famous saying that was a good thing.  What an archaic thought!

Any woman who chooses another way, seeking to serve God in her own right, is condemned as “unnatural,” prideful, and even persecuted as a witch.

What in the h-e-double-hockey sticks is she talking about?!  When was the last time a witch was persecuted around these parts, and why, again, does she assume that someone who chooses to take up a cross is not serving God in their own right?!?

Quite frankly, if you are rejecting your crosses in life, you aren’t serving God.  Who are you serving?  Oh, yourself.  This whole article is just a blatant misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the Church, crosses, salvation, and women.  I’m sure I could throw in a few more things, too. Yet this is coming from a woman who is also a Georgetown professor. Who is making her sacrifice her “hopes, dreams, and aspirations” again?

Come down from the cross! If Jesus were to return today, would these not be some of the first words he would say to our world? “Come down; stop sacrificing yourselves for your alleged sins and those of others. It is no sin to be a woman; it is a grace, given by God. I died so that no one, no one, would ever have to suffer the cruel pain of crucifixion, of dying, hanging from a tree, stabbed, starved, laughed at, and derided. Come down off that cross, now! Do not wait for others to take you down; you have the right and the ability to stop your suffering yourself! Come Down!”

One has to wonder if Ms. Hayes has even picked up a Bible?  Does she remember who uttered the words, “Come down from your cross!”?  Let’s take a look at Mark 15:29-32:

29 The passers-by blasphemed against him, shaking their heads; Come now, they said, thou who wouldst destroy the temple and build it up in three days, 30 come down from that cross, and rescue thyself. 31 In the same way, the chief priests and scribes said mockingly to one another, He saved others, he cannot save himself. 32 Let Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross, here and now, so that we can see it and believe in him. And the men who were crucified with him uttered taunts against him.

Is that really who she thinks we should be?  The blasphemer, a chief priests or scribe, or the unrepentant?  Yep.  Sounds about right for her and her dinner club.

Too many women have been “surrogate sufferers,’ forced to live lives of sacrifice and self-effacement for the supposed good of others, especially their men, rather than being able to freely choose paths of their own making, lives of their own choosing, futures of their own desiring. They have been placed on crosses, however they may be named, that imprison rather than liberate, that impede rather than promote, that weaken rather than empower, and that cripple rather than strengthen. Motherhood and martyrdom, the virgin or the whore, these have been the extremely limited roles available to women. Any woman who chooses another way, seeking to serve God in her own right, whether by remaining single but not in religious life, by seeking further education beyond domestic skills or approved women’s fields that initially, like nursing and teaching, were also forbidden to them, is condemned as “unnatural,” prideful, and even persecuted as a witch.

Where do I begin on this paragraph???  I mean, it’s just ugly and full of jealousy and bitterness. It shows someone who has a problem realizing we live in the 21st century.  In the eyes of the Church, women have NEVER had limited roles.  Uh, hello, does Our Lady ring a bell?

Ms. Hayes, if you want t follow your own desire, you’re totally free to do so, but, I’m warning you, it’ll probably lead you to be even more bitter than you already are.  That’s saying something, since it’s clear to see you’ve been there for a while.  Why don’t you try looking a bit into history?  We have saints who were queens, soldiers, doctors (not just of the Church), teachers, former prostitutes, nurses, etc.  Not only that, the Church urges us to be saints no matter what profession we have.  Do we have a woman day trader or CEO canonized yet?  Nope, although Mother Teresa was one heck of a CEO.  I must have missed the Church saying “Oh, you’re a woman CEO.  You must quit or be burned at the stake!”

So what is she realllllllyyyyy trying to say?  Likely the same old canard.  The Church is made up of misogynist old men who won’t let women be in the priesthood, perhaps? I mean, where did the Church try to persecute her as a witch?

The cross has become historically not a symbol of a once-and-for-all freely given sacrifice of life and love but a punishment for women, the poor, persons of color, all and any who dare to be different because they are born different, as we all are born.

And that pretty much shows your misunderstanding, Ms. Hayes.  First of all, you’re pretty much a privileged priss.  You do realize that Christians in the Middle East are being hung on actual crosses for the Faith these days, don’t you?  It’s not a symbol for them nor for us.  Our cross might look far different from theirs but it’s the same one Christ spoke of when he said:

 Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24)

Remember that little verse, Ms. Hayes?  It’s kind of a biggie.

Those historically marginalized and made voiceless in our world, the majority of whom are women, must now step down from the cross. This is not why Jesus died and rose again. He died and rose again to give life, not take it away. He died to open up our lives to their limitless possibilities and not to restrict them by negativity, self-doubt, or fear.

It’s quite clear you don’t understand the difference between this temporal life and everlasting life.  Your entire existence is based on 80 or so years on this earth.  You’re not even close to seeing the end game.  It’s all me, me, me.  Heaven forbid people “die to themselves.”  That’s just an oppressive notion, in your eyes.  Sorry, babe, that’s the most freeing notion there is!  Notice those being martyred today.  Some of them even go to their deaths smiling.  They know what awaits for dying for the Faith.

Women have been condemned for their intelligence, for their sexuality, for their emotions, all gifts given to them in their creation by a God of love and compassion. God created women not as scapegoats or footstools, not as baby-making machines or mindless beings, robots without wills of their own.

Who again thinks this?  It’s not the men who follow the Church.  Get the chip off your shoulder, woman.  This isn’t the problem of the Church, it’s the problem of SOCIETY where men are seen as objects.  This is not so in the Church. And yet you are the one who’s urging people to throw off those oppressive chains of the Church and go worldly.  Banner idea.

No. God created woman to work in solidarity with God’s other creation, man; to stand alongside and not in back or in front of him, to care for all of God’s creation. Both creation stories confirm this. The first chapter of Genesis states that God created male and female at the same time as the pinnacle of God’s creation (Gen 1:26), to nurture and sustain it, not to dominate or destroy it. But many know nothing of this story because the emphasis of Christian churches has always been on the story of Adam and Eve.

OK, can we go back to her lack of Bible reading?  Where does she get this stuff??? The creation of the animals and the creation of man weren’t the same AT ALL.  Yes, God created the animals male and female “at the same time”, but humans?  We were special.  Not quite sure why there’s a problem with emphasizing the story of Adam and Eve, since they were, after all, humans who, unlike animals, were infused with a soul and made in the image of God and giving FREE WILL!. Yeah, not quite the same as the animals.

Even there we do not find a mandate for woman to be submissive to the will of man. Both are meant to submit to the will of God and both fail to do so, in their own way. Eve is Adam’s help-mate, a term too often misinterpreted as servant or slave, rather than one who works in harmony with him as an equal. They do not have ownership of each other or of God’s creation; they are stewards, not masters. They have the ability, by the grace of God, to think for themselves and, in doing so, as many of us finite humans continue to do to this day, they strayed from God’s path. They were punished by banishment but they were not cursed.

OK, let’s stop right there.  People have got to stop paraphrasing Bible and read it in context and in its entirety.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

16 To the woman he said, Many are the pangs, many are the throes I will give thee to endure; with pangs thou shalt give birth to children, and thou shalt be subject to thy husband; he shall be thy lord. 17 And to Adam he said, Thou hast listened to thy wife’s counsel, and hast eaten the fruit I forbade thee to eat; and now, through thy act, the ground is under a curse. All the days of thy life thou shalt win food from it with toil; 18 thorns and thistles it shall yield thee, this ground from which thou dost win thy food. 19 Still thou shalt earn thy bread with the sweat of thy brow, until thou goest back into the ground from which thou wast taken; dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 16-19)

Tell me again how women aren’t to be submissive to their husbands?

…thou shalt be subject to thy husband; he shall be thy lord.

Subject and lord, Ms. Hayes.

More important, their banishment freed them to create life themselves in their own image and likeness and that of God’s, again by the compassionate grace of God. They were freed to cultivate the land, to attain knowledge of themselves and the world around them. In other words, they were freed to be human. Eve was not the source of evil or the gateway to hell. She was and continues to be the source of life as we have come to know it in its purest and fullest sense.

Holy misinterpretation of the Bible, Batman!  Freed them??????? At this point I’ve got to wonder how much they wasted paying this lady at Georgetown.  I ‘ve got to think that she cannot possibly be this stupid and that she’s totally trying to change reality for her own end game.

Freed them?! They already had free will and they blew it.  They had it all – everlasting life, love, no pain, no toil, no sin, and they threw it away when they gave into sin. They become subject to the effects of their sin. It wasn’t freeing AT ALL.  Please, for goodness sake, re-read it again and stop spewing this insane garbage to your readers and the poor students of Georgetown when you visit!  You’re being the serpent all over again!

God created woman to work in solidarity with God’s other creation, man; to stand alongside and not in back or in front of him, to care for all of God’s creation.

And we humans ruined that from the get go when we chose to follow Satan rather than God’s commands.

Women are the bearers of life and culture. They tell the stories, sing the songs, reweave the tapestries of our lives, and pass on knowledge of life and the world around them to all of humanity. Their gifts should be celebrated rather than condemned, rewarded rather than punished, proclaimed rather than ignored. Jesus himself proclaimed in Mark 14:9 of the unknown woman who anointed him, “I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

And?  Where has the Church said anything to the contrary?  Again, Ms. Hayes will be playing the role of the serpent in today’s over dramatization.

The gospel has been preached for two millennia, but somehow this passage has been ignored, in much the same way that the role of women in Jesus’ ministry and their proclaiming of the gospel message have been ignored. Instead, we hear only of women who are sinners or martyrs, virgins or whores. Where are the real women living real lives of love, friendship, study, writing, preaching, prophesying, dancing, praying, and singing? We know little of them.

Wow!  This babe is bitter! The question is, just who is she bitter with?  The Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?  Seems like the only one focusing on “martyrs, virgins or whores” is her, judging by how she likes to put forth that list every chance she gets.  Maybe she should try reading the lives of the Saints.  Methinks she’s missed a whole bunch of them.  Also, what does she mean by “real women?”  Are the Saints suddenly now all made up?  Sorry, Ms. Hayes.  They were all real women, some of who led extra-ordinary lives and some who led really ordinary lives but transformed them with their love of God.  Your depiction of them is, well, sad.

Women, of every race and nation, have carried the weight of the world on their shoulders from time immemorial. They have suffered long enough for the sins and failings of everyone. It is time, long past time, for them to come down from the cross and walk freely into new life, a life of possibility, not pain, of progress, not false failures. This does not mean that they can walk away from responsibility toward themselves and others but that they have the freedom to choose for themselves the paths they should take, the lives they should lead, the tapestries they will weave. All adults, male and female, should be free to choose. They are free to envision different possibilities for themselves and, therefore, for those they love.

Didn’t she say this already?  Can someone explain free will, crosses, and suffering to this lady?  I cannot believe the theology people at Georgetown! (Who am I kidding?  Yes, I can!) My junior high children can probably explain a few things to them.

Woman! Come down from that cross! It is not yours to bear. Jesus was nailed to the cross, died, and rose again, making the cross a symbol of resurrection, not of pain or death. Life up your head, look the world straight in the eye, and come down from the cross to take up your life as God’s beloved, weaving a new world, free of pain and suffering, hatred, prejudice and discrimination, oppression and marginalization, into a new, complex, and fruitful life.

Come down!

How poetic and Toni Morrison sounding, and yet, oh so not Catholic and contradictory.  If, as she says, the cross is “a symbol of resurrection, not of pain or death”, why WOULDN’T you want to unite yourself with it?!? Why would you want to leave it behind you?  Make up your mind! I wish blog posts had an easy way to insert sound effects.  I think I would add retching here.  I’ll just sum it up with GAG!

It really doesn’t surprise me in the least Fr. James Martin, SJ likes this drivel but I wish he devotees would open their eyes for just a second and maybe study Catholicism all on their own.  I think they’d actually be shocked, after years of following people like Martin, Hayes, et. al., that there is a really different Catholic Church out there than what has been put forth to them.  Develop a brain for yourself people.  Read the Bible.  Read the Catechism.  Read the documents of the Church. Martin and Hayes have a little problem doing so. Please don’t take the word of Fr. James Martin, SJ and ilk.  It’ll just make you as bitter as they are. Look for yourself and see the true freedom Christ offers through the Church.